Friday, June 9, 2023

Who Do You Think You Are?

 “He is the one who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.”
 – John 1:27

During Super Bowl 39, a mortgage company sponsored a really creative 30-second ad. A husband comes home with a bag of groceries and a bouquet of flowers. Obviously he wants to do something really nice for his wife. He walks in, says “Hello!” to his fluffy white cat and immediately begins making dinner. He puts a pot of spaghetti sauce on the stove, and as it simmers, he sets the table, where he places candles and arranges the flowers.

But as he’s cutting up vegetables with a large knife, the cat jumps on top of the counter and tips over the pan full of spaghetti sauce. Then, the little white furball brilliantly leaps into the middle of the red puddle on the floor. Trying to keep a bad situation from getting worse, the guy picks up his sauce-drenched cat with one hand while still holding the large knife in the other … just as his wife walks through the door. To her, it looks like “Friday the 13th: Cat Edition.”

At that point the commercial flashes the tagline: “Don’t judge too quickly. We won’t.”

In Jesus’ day, plenty of people judged too quickly. Some jumped to the conclusion that Jesus was just an ordinary guy from an ordinary town. They were wrong. Some people jumped to the conclusion that John the Baptist was the Christ—the promised Messiah. They were just as wrong. In John 1, John the Baptist set the record straight about who he was, and who Jesus Christ is.

The Jewish leaders wanted to know what this rogue preacher, John the Baptist, was up to. So the Jewish authorities sent a group of priests and priests’ assistants (Levites) to find out who he was, what he was doing and why he was doing it (v. 19).

When they arrived, John the Baptist knew they wanted answers, especially to this question: “Are you the Christ—the promised Savior and King of Israel?” So, he jumped right in and confessed in verse 20: “I am NOT the Christ.” That answer cleared things up a bit, but not completely. The priests and Levites asked if he was Elijah, or the great Prophet foretold by Moses in Deuteronomy. John said, “I am not” (v. 21). After being 0 for 3 guessing who John the Baptist was, his questioners threw up their hands and asked, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” (v. 22). In other words, they looked John the Baptist straight in the eye and asked: “Who do you think you are?”

John responded by quoting Isaiah 40:3-4, saying, “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord’” (v. 23). Not satisfied, they asked an important follow-up question: “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” (v. 25). John took this opportunity, once again, to point to Jesus: “Among you stands one you do not know. He is the one who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. (vs. 26-27).

The very next day, Jesus emerged from the crowd and walked toward John the Baptist. And John knew EXACTLY who He was. So John the Baptist announced: “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the One I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me’” (vs. 29-30). And in case that wasn’t clear enough for everybody, in verse 34 John the Baptist said loud and clear for all to hear: “I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.”

Here are three important life lessons we can learn from John the Baptist’s example:

Life Lesson #1: Fulfilling God’s will for your life isn’t just about knowing who you ARE. It’s also about knowing who you AREN’T. John the Baptist was one of the most effective followers of Christ in the New Testament, in part because he knew exactly who he wasn’t. Time and again some of his most devoted followers wanted to make him out to be something much bigger than he was, and every time he refused to be put on a pedestal. Do you know who you are? And do you know who you aren’t? Stop trying to be someone you’re not. Don’t pretend to be greater than Christ has called you to be. But just as importantly, don’t pretend to be less than Christ has called you to be. Know who you are. And know who you aren’t.

Life Lesson #2: The greatest Christian leaders are those who use the spotlight to shine a brighter spotlight on Jesus. When the crowd looked at John the Baptist and became attached to him, he redirected their attention, crying out, “Don’t look at me! Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” If you are a leader, it’s natural for your followers to like you. But do you lead them to like Jesus more? As you lead, some followers of yours may think too much of you and think too little of Jesus. One of the signs of a great Christian leader is how effectively he/she can direct the spotlight back to Jesus.

Life Lesson #3: People will be more likely to listen to what you have to say about Christ when you are humble and transparent. Don’t pretend you have all the answers, because you don’t. Don’t pretend you weren’t a fool before you became a Christian, because you were. Don’t pretend to be anything or anyone you’re not. Just be the humble, sincere follower of Christ that God created you to be. You’ll find that more people around you will listen to what you have to say about Jesus.

Dane Davis is the pastor of Impact Christian Church. Join us at our great NEW worship location in Apple Valley (16209 Kamana Road) at 9am and 11am. You can also join us livestreaming online at Facebook or YouTube. For more information, visit

God Con Carne

 “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.” – John 1:14 

I met my wife on a blind date when we were in college. One afternoon, one of my buddies pulled me aside and told me that a girl he liked would only go out with him if it was a double date. So, he needed me to go out with this girl’s best friend: Christine.

Well, I was pretty hesitant. I didn’t like the idea of being stuck on a date with a girl that I didn’t know. “What if she has a weird personality? What if we have nothing in common? What if she looks like Cruella De Vil?” So, my friend said, “I’ll tell you what. When you get to her dorm room door to pick her up, if you don’t like what you see, just pretend you’re having an asthma attack. Then you won’t have to go on the date.”

Well, that sounded like a pretty good plan. So, later that day, I knocked on Christine’s door, and there stood one of the prettiest girls I had ever seen. Beautiful blonde hair, big brown eyes, a cute smile—I couldn’t WAIT to get to know her better! But before I could introduce myself, she took one look at me, clutched her throat … and started having a fake asthma attack.

Okay, that didn’t really happen. But I am SO glad that Christine didn’t start gasping and wheezing the first time she met me. And aren’t you glad Jesus didn’t fake an asthma attack the first time He laid eyes on you? On the contrary, according to John 1:3: “Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made.” That means that before Jesus ever laid eyes on you, He saw you, He knew you and He loved you. So, He created you. Before the very foundations of the world were laid, you were in the mind and heart of the Word of God: Jesus Christ. Before God ever said, “Let there be light!” the Word of God, Jesus, saw you and knew you. And Jesus loved you with an everlasting love.

Notice that from the very first verse of John 1, John refers to Jesus as the Word of God. He could have called Jesus any one of several other names: the Truth, the Life, the Good Shepherd. All would have been correct. Why did John refer to Jesus as the Word of God? I believe verse 14 helps to give us the answer: “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

You see, the entire Old Testament is a record of God communicating with His followers. And God’s spoken words and His written words were intended to do three things: 1) to reveal Himself and His glory; 2) to provide a roadmap for finding God and being reconciled to God; and 3) to teach His followers right from wrong, and how to glorify Him with their lives. That’s the threefold purpose of God’s spoken and written word. So John calls Jesus the Word of God, because Jesus Christ is the embodiment of all three of these purposes. The WORDS of God lead us to God in black and white. But the WORD of God leads us to God in living color. He is Lord in the flesh … the Divine with meat … God Con Carne.

When we take a closer look at those three purposes, John 1:14 gives us three Life Lessons:

Life Lesson #1: Because the Word became flesh, you can now see the glory of God in living color. If you want to see the majesty and beauty of God, you need look no further than Jesus. And, most importantly, if you want to see the character of God, carefully study the character of Jesus. No one characterizes God like Jesus. He reveals and displays the character of our holy and beautiful God in Heaven … perfectly.

Life Lesson #2: Because the Word became flesh, you now have a clear roadmap for finding God and being reconciled to God. Jesus didn’t just come to earth to SHOW us a roadmap to God … Jesus IS the roadmap. If you want to find God, just find Jesus. If you want to get right with God, get right with Jesus. If you want to go to heaven someday to live forever with God, you have to follow Jesus there. Jesus is the Way—the ONLY Way—to God. 

Life Lesson #3: Because the Word became flesh, you now know exactly how to glorify God with your life. Some might say, “Wait a minute! I don’t know what career God wants me to have! I don’t know who God wants me to marry or how many kids He wants me to have! How can you say, I know ‘exactly’ how to glorify God with my life?” Well, Jesus has made glorifying God with our lives much simpler than you might think. Whatever job you have, whoever you’re married or not married to, however many kids you might have … do these three things every day: Trust Jesus, love Jesus, and obey His commands. It’s not easy, but it’s simple.

Two thousand years ago, the Word of God became flesh. He moved into our neighborhood to show us EXACTLY what God is like. He came to offer us a much clearer path to getting right with God and glorifying Him with our lives. So, trust Him. Love Him. And obey Him.

Dane Davis is the pastor of Impact Christian Church. Join us at our great NEW worship location in Apple Valley (16209 Kamana Road) at 9am and 11am. You can also join us livestreaming online at Facebook or YouTube. For more information, visit

The Word of God … In Person!

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
– John 1:1

Growing up in the 1950s was hard for Mary. She knew that she was different from the other kids. You see, Mary was born with a cleft palate. So, every day, kids stared at her and teased her about her misshapen lip, crooked nose and garbled speech. So, Mary grew up hating the fact that she was “different.” She was convinced that no one, outside her family, could ever love her … until she entered Mrs. Leonard’s class. Mrs. Leonard had a warm smile, shiny brown hair, and most importantly, she was kind—especially to hurting children.

One day, it was time for the teacher to give the children their annual hearing test. It was called the “whisper test,” and it was given by having a child walk across the room, then repeat something that the teacher whispered. Teachers would often say things like, “The sky is blue,” or “What color are your shoes?” 

But not on that day. When it was Mary’s turn, God must have put the words in Mrs. Leonard’s mouth, because they changed Mary’s life forever. From across the room, Mary heard Mrs. Leonard speak these seven words as clear as a bell: “I wish you were my little girl.”

Words … are … powerful. And the most powerful of all is the Word of God, sent to us in the form of His son, Jesus Christ. Today I’d like to look at just one verse from scripture—but what a powerful verse it is: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”  (John 1:1).

John writes in very simple language—but at the same time, the content of John is incredibly deep. Martin Luther said, “Never in my life have I read a book written in simpler words than this, and yet the words are inexpressible!” Many evangelists help to reach the lost by giving them, not an entire Bible, but the Gospel of John. Why? Because it saves lives, with its simple language and direct message about God’s love.

Around the time John wrote his gospel, people had been studying and quoting an influential Greek philosopher named Heraclitus for over 500 years. Heraclitus believed the universe operates according to a orderly structure. All the laws of physics, mathematics, logic and morality could be traced to this one ordering principle, which he called “logos.” That translates as ‘the Word.” “Logos” was a big concept in those days: the idea of an uncreated divine mind that gives order and meaning to the universe.

So, the Apostle John basically adopted the concept. In John 1:1, he’s saying: “You know OF a single orderly Source. You know OF the uncreated divine mind. Well, this orderly Source is a living, breathing being. This uncreated divine mind is a person. The logos—the Word—is Jesus Christ. And the news gets even better. The Word of God is knowable. You can actually know Him personally. You can talk with Him, fellowship with Him and love Him. In fact, He beat you to it. He has already been talking with you, reaching out to fellowship with you and loving you long before you ever thought about loving Him.”

The Gospel of John teaches us, over and over, that the Intelligent Design stems from an Intelligent Designer, and that Intelligent Designer is knowable and is worthy of our trust. In fact, the greatest privilege in life is to be able to personally know and trust the Word of God.

I’d like to offer three life lessons from this important verse:

Life Lesson #1: For almost 2,000 years, the Gospel of John has been a tool in God’s hand to lead hundreds of millions of people to salvation in Christ. One of the most loving things you can do is to share the Word of God with those around you. You and I can’t open a single closed mind, soften a single hard heart, or save a single lost soul. But the Word of God CAN. Jesus Christ CAN. So, bring them to church where Jesus Christ will do what He specializes in: Softening hard hearts, opening closed minds and saving lost souls.

Life Lesson #2: Because Jesus is the Word of God, He can bring order to all the chaos in your life. As the Word of God, Jesus Christ is, by definition, the One who creates and maintains order in the universe. The unchanging laws of physics … the amazing order in mathematics … the beautiful symmetry of music … Jesus did ALL of that! He created unfathomable order in an otherwise disorderly and chaotic universe. And if Jesus can bring order to an entire universe, what do you think the chances are that He can bring order to the chaos in your life?

Life Lesson #3: Because Jesus is the Word of God, He can bring meaning to all the meaninglessness in your life. Never forget: God … doesn’t … waste … anything. He can take anything in your past—good, bad or ugly—and somehow use it for His glory. He can use your past addictions, your criminal record or your broken marriage for His glory. He can use every sin, every failure, every screw-up for His glory—if you’ll only hand them over to Him and let Him work all things together for good. In God’s Kingdom, nothing is meaningless. Even if it’s out of His plan, Jesus Christ can weave it into His plan … IF you’ll let Him.

Every day people ask, “How could Jesus Christ possibly make something good or useful out of my mess?” I don’t know HOW He does it. All I can tell you is, He DOES it. And that shouldn’t surprise us, because He is the Word of God.

Dane Davis is the pastor of Impact Christian Church. Join us at our great NEW worship location in Apple Valley (16209 Kamana Road) at 9am and 11am. You can also join us livestreaming online at Facebook or YouTube. For more information, visit